Vietnam Coast – 3,400kms of Sand, Sea & Surprises (18.04.16)
Hidden lagoons, white sand beaches, dramatic rock formations, endless palms and jungle-fringed tropical islands are just some of the typical landscape features dotted along the sleepy, and often under-visited, South China Sea coastline of Vietnam.
Add in exciting local town, village and coastal cultures, with an ever-expanding variety of stunning hotel hideaways, and you have one of Asia’s most thrilling and vibrant coastal destinations.
Vietnam came to the international tourism party decades after the majority of its busier neighbours, but nowadays the opportunities to explore such a dramatic, yet accessible, coastline are endless. By South East Asian standards the change of pace has been relatively steady along huge swathes of Vietnam’s coastline. Even quieter destinations, which I first visited over two decades ago, and which have now become mainstream go-to coastal spots, retain their impressive charm. For example Nha Trang, which I remember as much for its collection of faceless concrete Russian building developments as its impressive sandy beaches, now offers a host of boutique hotel facilities. Equally Halong Bay, although visited by many, is still remarkable for its jaw-dropping island scenery.
This selection of photos gives a brief snapshot of how varied and unique Vietnam’s coast is. From charming islands, with immaculate escape-from-it-all accommodation, to remote palm-fringed bays, as well as busier mainstream waterways, the draw to Vietnam’s coast is difficult to resist.
When planning itineraries, we at Nomadic Thoughts always advise choosing a mix of coastal locations. Depending on the amount of time you have, it pays to combine rural coastal scenery with vibrant urban seaside locations.
Vietnam has nearly three and a half thousand kilometres of coast, so it will come as no surprise that the culture, cuisine and architecture are as varied as the meteorological systems. For example the coastal regions near the central towns of Hue, Denang and Hoi An enjoy very different ambiance and vibe to Halong and the Cat Ba National Park in the north, and again differ from Nha Trang and Mekong Delta in the south.
Equally, with three different weather zones, travel along Vietnam’s coast can be affected by changing weather patterns at various times of the year. For example the Reunification Express Train Line, which follows the country’s coastline as slowly as the changing tide, can often grind to a complete halt during rainy seasons.
That said, my advice – whatever the weather, and whenever you can get away – Vietnam’s dramatic coastal locations will give you an amazing insight into one of Asia’s most exciting destinations. Start packing.